Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cheaper by the dozen

Lady Wolverines roll sixes twice

Express Staff Writer

Consistently excellent play and attention to details propelled the Wood River girls' soccer team past two quality opponents in Hailey Saturday.

Home to Middleton (2-3-1) and McCall-Donnelly (3-2-1), the Lady Wolverines tallied 12 goals on the day in a pair of 6-0 victories.

"We really tried to focus right from the beginning of the day to come out focused and strong," coach Greg Gvozdas said. "We wanted to capitalize right out of the gate."

The Wolverines (5-0-1) did just that against Middleton in an early-morning matchup, controlling the ball, the tempo and the middle of the field with equal assurance.

Minutes after the opening whistle, sophomore Sam Johnson dribbled the ball through traffic, dished off to sophomore wing Aimee Evans, who burned two defenders and the goalie for a 1-0 lead.

Patrolling and controlling the right wing with quiet determination, Evans struck again, sticking a left-footed shot past the keeper to make it 2-0.

With so much pressure offensively, Wood River forced eight corner kicks in the first half, capitalizing on a beautiful driving kick from Evans to Brianna Hull-Mullins, who headed it in for a 3-0 advantage at the 23-minute mark.

Eight minutes and five shots later, Middleton switched goalies but it was to no avail. In 38 seconds Elsa Sweek punched the ball past the outstretched keeper for Hailey's fourth score.

Wood River tacked on two more goals in the second half with Evans getting her third of the game and Delaney Fox her first for a 6-0 result.

Gvozdas said the team incorporated some of its younger players in the second half, including Makayla Cappell and Aly Ward, who performed well.

"We tried to focus on having our younger players step in and learn the system," he said. "We were very solid regardless of who was in the back."

Depending as always on the stalwart play of backs Michelle McMurdo and Danielle Smith, and midfielder Calley Brown, gave the team time to polish its half-field attack and the Wolverines focused on the details, displaying rabid attention to closing down the lanes on even the most mundane throw ins.

Despite a relatively easy win against the Vikings, the Wolverines came out hungry against McCall and recorded a carbon-copy four goals in the first half and two in the second in another 6-0 victory.

"They came out fired up and capitalized early," Gvozdas said.

Hannah Fuller found the back of the net at the five-minute mark. Hull-Mullins converted a corner kick by Johnson and Evans long shot found its mark for consecutive scores within a minute of each other.

Calley Brown cracked a 35-yarder to close out the first-half barrage.

"She was really on all weekend," Gvozdas said.

Hull-Mullins (3 goals) and Johnson recorded the remaining goals, giving the Wolverines seven different scorers on the day.

In six games this season, the Wolverines have outscored opponents 24-4, and should be pumped and primed for a 4A matchup against Pocatello (Tuesday). Revenge is a factor and the Knights also represent the toughest challenge the Wolverines could face -- at least on paper - until the post-season.

"They ended our season last year, beating is at state 5-4," Gvozdas said. "They should be very tough."

But even as the Wolverines focus on each and every game, the team's ultimate goal is winning in October and it is what colors their practice and preparation day in and day out.

"We talk about the mental side of the game a lot," Gvozdas said.

"Our bigger goal is not until the end of October. Each day we come out we want to be better than the day before. We want to make sure were always moving in right direction."

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